3 Tips to Minimize Translation Cost and Time in eLearning

3 Tips to Minimize Translation Cost and Time in eLearning

3 Tips to Minimize Translation Cost and Time in eLearning

ELearning has now become a worldwide phenomenon and more companies are turning towards this new trend to train their employees. The reason why companies choose eLearning or online training is that these methods cost less when compared to classroom training sessions.

Another major advantage is that eLearning also serves the purpose of providing training to employees who are globally dispersed.

However, if a company wants to provide eLearning courses to employees all over the globe, then it is important to translate the training material into regional languages because employees are bound to learn better if the information is provided in their native languages. Translating training materials may be a difficult and an expensive process. Here are a few tips to help you in this process.

Develop Translation – Friendly Content: The writing style should be concise and clear because most translators charge per word. Avoid using acronyms, which can cause confusion. Anticipate expansion in language, because text in many languages is longer than corresponding text in English. For example, when translating content from English to French or Spanish the translation will generally be about 15% to 30% longer than the original content. So it’s better to allow for more space while designing an eLearning course. Also, be cautious to provide extra space for buttons, links, and menu.

Cut Down On Audio And Video: It’s a good idea to develop interactive eLearning content, but this can complicate the translation process. For example, if there are 3 audio or video clips in the course and you want to translate them into three different languages, you have to produce nine different dubbings. It’s better to use only those clips that support the content. We surely can’t deny the importance of audio in eLearning.

Alternatively, you can use more content on screen and interactivities to enhance the effectiveness of learning.

Be Cautious About the Visual Strategy Used: It’s equally important to place text besides images. Placing text in a graphic or on top of an image leads to additional time and cost for translation compared to the regular text translation. In some cases, you may tend to use text on graphic. For example, translating “yes”, “no”, or “may be” to other languages may be difficult; instead culture neutral icons as shown below can be used.


Translating training materials may be difficult and expensive but by paying more attention to these three important areas—developing translation-friendly content, cutting down on audio and video, and being cautious about the visual strategy—you can reduce cost and time to a great extent.

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  • Apart from that, whenever possible, use of simple, easily understood language should be made and that of jargons be limited. To make the content more adaptive and applicable for the target country audience, also change the names of characters in the modules to the local names. I have so far observed that many elearning companies do not bother to change the names to the country/region-specific local names. A thoroughly localized approach is what is necessary to make the content more appealing.